This course is for students interested in the ecology of agricultural systems. Students will gain an in-depth understanding of inputs and outputs in agricultural systems and their relation to primary productivity, nutrient cycling, energy flows, and species interactions on farms. We will consider agroecology as a science based in, although fundamentally different from, ecology and agronomy. This course also recognizes that agroecological practices cannot be considered apart from the socioeconomic and political processes in which they are a part. We will address questions like: Can temporal and spatial crop diversity be used to manage pest and disease populations? How can animals contribute to soil fertility on farm? What ecosystem services do agroecosystems provide? What factors influence farmers’ choice of practices? Labs will involve case studies of local farms, group experiments on the student farm and quantification of agroecological variables.
Corequisite: Students must also register for the lab, ENV2118L.